Illinois Expungement Law

Expungement of Criminal Records – General – Illinois

1.  What is an expungement?

The process of legally destroying, obliterating or striking out records or information in files, computers and other depositories relating to criminal charges.

2.  Do the records just “disappear”?

No. The records cannot be accessed for general law enforcement or civil use. An expunged record may not be considered by any private or public entity in employment matters, certification, licensing, revocation of certification or licensure, or registration. 20 ILCS 2630/12. Expunged juvenile criminal records’ information may only be used for statistical and bona fide research purposes. 705 ILCS 405/5-915.

3.  What records may be expunged?

Law enforcement records or juvenile court records of juveniles, or both, to be expunged from the official records of the arresting authority. 705 ILCS 405/1-9. The court shall not order the expungement of the arrest records and records of any person granted supervision for or convicted of any sexual offense committed against a minor under 18 years of age. The record of arrest expunged from the official records of the arresting authority and the Department may be expunged. 20 ILCS 2630/5.

4.  Who is eligible for an expungement?

1. A person reaching age 17 may have prior records may be expunged if

(a) the minor was arrested and no petition for delinquency was filed with the clerk of the circuit court; or

  (b) the minor was charged with an offense and was found not delinquent of that offense; or

  (c) the minor was placed under supervision pursuant to Section 5-615, and the order of supervision has since been successfully terminated; or

  (d) the minor was adjudicated for an offense which would be a Class B misdemeanor, Class C misdemeanor, or a petty or business offense if committed by an adult.

705 ILCS 405/5-915.

2. At any time after turning 21 or having 5 years pass since last juvenile court proceeding or confinement terminated, whichever is later, and no convictions since 17th birthday, a person may apply for expungement of delinquency offense committed before age 17 not resulting in criminal court proceedings. Expungement is not available for first-degree murder or sex offenses. 705 ILCS 405/5-915.

3. Whenever any person has reached the age of 17 or whenever all juvenile court proceedings relating to that person have been terminated, whichever is later, the person may petition the court to expunge law enforcement records relating to incidents occurring before his 17th birthday or his juvenile court records, or both, if the minor was placed under supervision pursuant to Sections 2-20, 3-21, or 4-18, and that order of supervision has since been successfully terminated. 705 ILCS 405/1-9.

4. An adult or minor prosecuted as an adult, not having previously been convicted of any criminal offense or municipal ordinance violation, charged with a violation of a municipal ordinance or a felony or misdemeanor, is acquitted or released without being convicted. 20 ILCS 2630/5.

5. A person who has been convicted of an offense is granted a pardon by the Governor which specifically authorizes expungement. 20 ILCS 2630/5.

6. A person whose conviction has been set aside on direct review or on collateral attack and the court determines by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant was factually innocent of the charge. 20 ILCS 2630/5.

7. (A) He or she has never been convicted of a criminal offense; and   (B) Each arrest or charge not initiated by arrest sought to be expunged resulted in: (i) acquittal, dismissal, or the petitioner’s release without charging, unless excluded by subsection (a)(3)(B); (ii) a conviction which was vacated or reversed, unless excluded by subsection (a)(3)(B); (iii) an order of supervision and such supervision was successfully completed by the petitioner, unless excluded by subsection (a)(3)(A) or (a)(3)(B); or (iv) an order of qualified probation (as defined in subsection (a)(1)(J)) and such probation was successfully completed by the petitioner. 20 ILCS 2630/5.2.

8. A person convicted of a failure to support charge who successfully completes the Earnfare program. 750 ILCS 16/15.

5.  How do I get records expunged?

A person who is the subject of an delinquency arrest or a juvenile court proceeding may file a verified petition with the chief judge of the circuit in which an arrest was made or a charge was brought. Notice of the petition shall be served upon the State’s Attorney and upon the arresting authority which is the subject of the petition for expungement.705 ILCS 405/5-915.

First-time offenders may submit a verified petition to the chief judge of the circuit where the person had been convicted, any judge of the circuit designated by the Chief Judge, or in counties of less than 3,000,000 inhabitants, the presiding trial judge at the defendant’s trial, to have a court order expunging the record of arrest. If the court determines by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant was factually innocent of the charge, it will order expungement. The Department may charge the petitioner a fee equivalent to the cost of processing any order to expunge or seal the records, and the fee shall be deposited into the State Police Services Fund. 20 ILCS 2630/5.

For delinquency offense records, the chief judge of the circuit in which an arrest was made or a charge was brought or any judge of that circuit designated by the chief judge may, upon verified petition of a person who is the subject of an arrest or a juvenile court proceeding under subsection (1) or (2) of this Section, order the law enforcement records or official court file, or both, to be expunged from the official records of the arresting authority, the clerk of the circuit court and the Department of State Police. Notice of the petition shall be served upon the State’s Attorney and upon the arresting authority which is the subject of the petition for expungement. 705 ILCS 405/5-915.

For non-delinquency proceedings, whenever any person has reached the age of 17 or whenever all juvenile court proceedings relating to that person have been terminated, whichever is later, the person may petition the court to expunge law enforcement records relating to incidents occurring before his 17th birthday or his juvenile court records, or both, if the minor was placed under supervision pursuant to Sections 2-20, 3-21, or 4-18, and the order of supervision has since been successfully terminated. The chief judge of the circuit in which an arrest was made or a charge was brought or any judge of that circuit designated by the chief judge may, upon verified petition of a person who is the subject of an arrest or a juvenile court proceeding order the law enforcement records or juvenile court records, or both, to be expunged from the official records of the arresting authority and the clerk of the circuit court. Notice of the petition shall be served upon the State’s Attorney and upon the arresting authority which is the subject of the petition for expungement. 705 ILCS 405/1-9.

In adult proceedings, the following procedures must be followed:

1. Complete your Petition to Expunge and Seal, Petition to Seal Arrest Record or Petition to Seal Conviction, whichever applies.
2. Notarize your Petition.
3. Make 6 copies.
4. Fill out the 1st page of an Order to Expunge, Order to Seal Arrest Record or Order to Seal Conviction, whichever applies.
5. File your Petition with the Circuit Court Clerk. You will be given a date, time and location to appear in court. If you are filing a Petition to Expunge and Seal, file your original Notice of Motion along with notarized proof of service. Serve a copy of the serve a copy of the Notice and a copy of your Petition to Expunge and Seal to:

a. the State’s Attorney of the county you are filing in
b. the Illinois State Police, Bureau of Identification, 260 N. Chicago Avenue, Joliet, Illinois 60431-1342
c. the arresting authority, and
d. the chief legal officer of the arresting authority.

If you are filing a Petition to Seal Arrest record or a Petition to Seal Conviction, give 4 extra copies to the Clerk. The Clerk’s office will serve the other parties.

If you are filing for expungement or sealing,  the State has 60 days to file an objection.

6. Appear in Court at the date, time and location set in the Notice of Motion.
7. Give the judge your completed Order if the judge grants your Petition.
8. If your Petition is granted, immediately go to the Circuit Court Clerk’s office. You will be asked to pay certain statutory mailing and certification fees for each agency required to receive notice.

If you have filed a Petition to Expunge and Seal, you must mail certified copies of the Order to Expunge to:

a. the State’s Attorney of the county you are filing in
b. the Illinois State Police, Bureau of Identification, 260 N. Chicago Avenue, Joliet, Illinois 60431-1342
c. the arresting authority, and
d. the chief legal officer of the arresting authority.
e. any other agency as may be ordered by the judge.

If you have filed a Petition to Seal Arrest Record or a Petition to Seal Conviction, the Clerk’s office will serve the other parties.
9. Deliver to the Circuit Court Clerk a certified check or money order payable to the Department of the State Police in the required amount. The Department of the State Police will not seal or expunge your record without this fee.


Inside Illinois Expungement Law